Bob Wollek

Full Name:
Robert Jean "Bob" Wollek
Born:
4th November 1943
Strasbourg, Alsace
Died:
16th March 2001 (Aged 57)
Sebring, Florida (USA), road accident
Nationality:
French
Most recent race (in database):
Biography

"Brilliant Bob" Wollek was a sports car legend for three decades but he was ultimately unable to score the Le Mans victory his career and talent deserved.

Background and early racing career

An international skier during the late 1960s but that career was ended by injury. He had already entered and won his first rally – the 1967 Mont-Blanc with a Renault Eight Gordini. He won a competition to drive an Alpine-Renault in the 1968 Le Mans 24 Hours – the first of 30 appearances in a race that would help shape his legacy but would always frustrate.

He tried single-seaters, crashing heavily in Formula 3 before racing in Formula 2 for Ron Dennis’ Rondel Racing from 1971 to 1973. He never won but finished second at Imola in 1972 and Thruxton a year later.

Without the opportunity to progress to Formula 1 and lacking the results to truly merit it, Wollek returned to sports cars. His name became synonymous with Porsche and he raced for Kremer, Joest and then the works team for the rest of the century. He also enjoyed short stints with both Lancia and Jaguar.

A winner in sports cars

The first of 11 victories in the World Sportscar Championship came at Hockenheim in 1977 with John Fitzpatrick and a Kremer Porsche 935. He won the European Group C Championship in 1983 and three German sports car titles during that decade were all for Joest.

He won the Daytona 24 Hours on four occasions but it was his continued failure at Le Mans that hurt. Second in 1978, 1995, 1996 and 1998, that second occasion was as close as he came to victory. Co-driver and star attraction before the race Mario Andretti crashed early on and six crucial laps were lost to the eventual winners.

His final chance of overall success came in 1998 driving a works Porsche GT1 car. Now well in his fifties but still extremely fit, Wollek continued racing but in lower GT classes.

Life away from racing

Away from racing, he was a keen cyclist and ran the family garage business. Wollek cycled from his home in Strasbourg to Le Mans for the race each year. He was fluent in three languages and, despite being something of a loner, was one of the more engaging characters in the paddock.

The 2001 season was believed to be his last. He was cycling to his hotel on the eve of the Sebring 12 Hours when he was hit by a vehicle. Wollek was pronounced dead on arrival to hospital from the head injuries he had sustained.

Championship seasons

Season Name Starts Poles Podiums Wins Position Points
2000 FIA GT Championship 17th 6
1999 FIA GT Championship 10th 16
1998 FIA GT Championship 23rd 3
1997 FIA GT Championship 12th 21
1994 International GT Series
Larbre Competition
3 2 3 3 0
1992 World Sportscar Championship
Courage Competition
1 0 0 0 0
1991 World Sportscar Championship
Silk Cut Jaguar
1 0 1 0 24th 12
1991 IMSA Camel GT Championship
Joest Racing
1 0 1 1 0
1990 World Sports-Prototype Championship
Joest Racing
9 0 0 0 13th 7.5
1989 World Sports-Prototype Championship
Joest Racing
7 0 4 1 6th 72
1989 Deutsche Rennsportmeisterschaft 1st -
1989 IMSA Camel GT Championship
Busby Racing
2 0 2 2 0
1988 World Sports-Prototype Championship
Joest Racing
Porsche
10 0 3 0 9th 122
1988 Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft
BMK Motorsport
4 0 0 0
0% win rate
47th 3
1987 World Sports-Prototype Championship
Joest Racing
Rothmans Porsche
8 1 0 0 29th 16
1986 World Sports-Prototype Championship
Rothmans Porsche
Richard Lloyd Racing
7 1 1 1 14th 30
1986 IMSA Camel GT Championship
Bayside Motorsports
2 0 2 2 0
1985 World Endurance Championship
Martini Racing (Lancia)
7 0 2 1 5th 58
1985 IMSA Camel GT Championship
Bayside Motorsports
Preston Henn
3 1 3 3 0
1984 World Endurance Championship
Martini Racing (Lancia)
7 4 1 0 30th 18
1983 European Endurance Championship 1st -
1983 Deutsche Rennsportmeisterschaft 1st -
1983 IMSA Camel GT Championship
Preston Henn
1 1 1 1 0
1983 World Endurance Championship
Joest Racing
7 0 3 1 5th 64
1982 Deutsche Rennsportmeisterschaft 1st -
1982 World Endurance Championship
Joest Racing
John Fitzpatrick Racing
6 0 3 0 0
1981 World Endurance Championship
Porsche Kremer Racing
Preston Henn
4 0 1 0 260th 9.5
1980 World Championship of Makes
GELO Racing
Georg Loos
2 0 0 0 8
1979 World Championship of Makes
Georg Loos
5 0 5 3 98
1978 World Championship of Makes
Porsche Kremer Racing
7 1 5 3 99
1977 World Championship of Makes
Porsche Kremer Racing
Brumos Porsche
7 1 5 1 94
1976 World Championship of Makes
Porsche Kremer Racing
5 0 3 0 48
1976 World Championship of Sportscars
Joest Racing
1 0 0 0 6
1975 World Championship of Makes 2 0 0 0 6
1974 World Championship of Makes
Equipe Gitanes
1 0 0 0 0
1973 World Championship of Makes
Equipe Matra-Simca Shell
1 0 0 0 0
1973 European F2 Championship
Motul-Rondel Racing
11 (2) 0 1 0
0% win rate
6th 23
1972 John Player British F2 Championship
Motul-Rondel Racing
2 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1972 European F2 Trophy
Motul-Rondel Racing
12 0 3 0
0% win rate
7th 21
1971 European F2 Trophy
Rondel Racing
2 (3) 0 0 0
0% win rate
20th 1
1969 International Championship of Makes
Automobiles Alpine
1 0 0 0 0
1968 International Championship of Makes
Automobiles Alpine
1 0 0 0 0